Author: Colin Dean
Moneual Labs has many very attractive HTPC cases and home theater units, but this year, it’s branching out into several categories of computer hardware, including nettops, netbooks, and green PC designs. For most items, pricing and availability were unavailable at press time. We covered Maneual (pronounced man WALL) last year, too.
The Moneual 972 is a complete HTPC, elegant and incredibly powerful. Driven by Windows 7 Ultimate on an Intel Core i7 with 8GB DD3, 2 TB HDD, Blu-ray optical drive, and a Radeon 5870 1 GB graphics card. It supports CableCard for TV watching on DRM’d cable systems, and includes a customized disc backup module for Windows 7′s media center application. This module enables users to copy DVD and Blu-ray to the hard drive for archival and easy playback.
External Hard Drives
Moneual showed a line of external hard drives of various sizes. Commonly, all had a display which enables the user to see filenames on the drive.
Sometimes, a company wants to prevent its employees from copying secret, proprietary information via the Internet, so the company will give the employee two computers: one with Internet access, and one without. The latter of the two has only intranet access, the former has no intranet access. Moneual recognized this common implementation and designed a PC which merges two computers in one.
One of the computers is running Windows 7 Enterprise on an Intel Core2Duo E7500 with 4 GB DD2, a 320 GB HDD, and Intel GMA X4500 graphics, while the other is far less beefy: Windows XP Home on an Intel Atom 230 with 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB HDD, with Intel GMA 950 graphics. It’s up to the company to decide which side is intranet and which is Internet. Switching between the two is actually done via a button on the front. This button switches inputs on an internal KVM.
I asked about the presence of USB ports on both of the units. If both computers have USB storage available, it’s quite trivial for a sneaky employee to smuggle a Flash drive past security and copy the NOC list, secret blueprints, or that whistleblowing TPS report. Moneual says, in so many words, that it’s up to the company to secure its computers at the policy or physical level. The MiNEW D001 simply packages the two computers together in a compact case with an integrated KVM.
Moneual displayed several of its netbooks, all using the Intel Atom chipset. Some use the 230 series, others use the more powerful N270. The MiNEW N10T is a tablet netbook with a swiveling lid. Other than that, Maneual’s netbooks are the standard Atom-based netbook. Moneual targets the $200-$300 price range for its netbooks.